Big Game, Small World
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S I X : Italy
This chapter, which was excerpted in the 2001 Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated, tells of il derby, the great rivalry that both defines and divides the city of Bologna. Fortitudo, populist and feisty, is strength. Virtus, moneyed and austere, is virtue. I discovered the essence of this elegant university town by immersing myself in the feud between these two teams, and in the culture of the cadres that follow them.

In the decisive stages of the Fortitudo-Virtus game I witnessed, a Fortitudo functionary at the scorer’s table brazenly cheated—but he was only caught after the result, a victory for his team, had been consecrated. Here are the Zapruder-like images that ran in the local paper, exposing palettagate, the scandal that absorbed the city in the days following the game.

If you’d like to read an Italian version of this chapter that appeared in the June 16, 2001 issue of Sport Week, the magazine supplement to La Gazzetta dello Sport, click here.


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